Roma Empowerment and Social Inclusion Through Work-Integrated Learning
Keywordsempowerment, Roma people, social inclusion, work-integrated learning
participatory action research,
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AbstractThe basis for this article was a health promotion program based on participatory action research and work-integrated learning (WIL). Seven Roma people were employed and trained to work as local coordinators to empower the local Roma
community by strengthening their participation in society and their sense of community, as well as to promote self-led integration. The study aimed to analyze the program from the Roma coordinators’ perspectives, focusing on perceived individual empowerment and perceptions of contribution to the common good and to community empowerment. The findings, based on qualitative data, primarily interviews with the Roma coordinators, indicated that the WIL approach, the participatory nature of the program, and the trust and support from the Roma colleagues and non-Roma facilitators were essential for the development of empowerment. Three main themes emerged that portrayed the participants’ psychological empowerment: strengthened Roma identity, a sense of power, and a sense of enculturated social inclusion.